Inherited some machine tools - Now what?
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    Talking Inherited some machine tools - Now what?

    Hi all I'm completely new to machine tools and this forum. I just inherited a South Bend Lathe and a Bridgeport J Head mill from my grandfather who passed away. I made the drive to collect the lathe this past weekend and I am excited to start learning the trade. I have absolutely zero experience with running a lathe or a mill. Wondering how people normally get started? I'm looking for recommendations for where to start to learn how to use these machines safely and effectively.

    The current challenge will be re-assembling the lathe in my basement. We removed it from my grandfathers basement with a Kubota with a set of forks on it. I wrapped a lifting strap around the webbing of the bed and picked it up that way. Unfortunately I don't have a Kubota to move the machine now that its at my house and I'm trying to figure out how I am going to get it inside the house and back up onto the bench. My current plan is to simply slide it on some plywood all the way into my walk out basement and then borrow an engine hoist from somebody to get it back up on the table. I also ended up having to cut the belt to get the lathe separated from the table as we only had a short amount of time with the Kubota and we could not figure out how to get the belt off so I will need to figure out where I can buy a new belt for the machine.

    Looking forward to learning more about this trade and making some cool parts.

    img_1704.jpg

    img_1706.jpg

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    I can't help with the move. The lathe belt, use one of those link belt types that enable you to thread it back around the spindle V pulley and motor. That way you won't have to remove the spindle from the head stock. They come in different widths, so match it to the existing belt. The link to the HF belt is for a 1/2" wide (top of V measurement).
    Vibration Free Link Belt

    If the basement is dry, and temperature is above dew point, you should be OK with no rust. But if it's damp, you must run a dehumidifier to dry the air down. Same issue out in a non controlled, temperature shop space.
    Then you need to level the machine, else the twist in the bed will produce a taper to the work. You need a precision level, or search for other methods. But the level is the best starting point. Search youtube for the many questions as folks posts lots of helpful information for machining beginners.

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    Check with your local community college and see if they have any machinist or gunsmith courses that teach manual machining, most are going to cnc, but you might get lucky. Mr Pete/Tubalcain on youtube sells a video course, I suggested it to a friend but don't think she followed thru so I don't know much else about it. South Bend put out a book "How to Run a Lathe", it is REQUIRED reading for any novice, you can download it free from the net.

    Make sure the stairs into basement can handle the load, if need be take the lathe apart and carry it down, maybe hire some big guys if needed. As for the mill, have fun!

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    As to getting to know what to do, search Amazon (other book shops are available) for "south bend how to run a lathe" that'll find you the classic book on the subject.

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    The South Bend book is ok, do a Google search for the PDF of the Hercus Lathe book Text Book of Turning. They apparently built licensed South Bend lathes with there own ideas included in Australia much like Boxford in the U.K. did. That book is what the South Bend book should have been and better for someone starting out.

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    Call a local machinery mover and see what they would charge you to take it down to the basement .or a piano mover.. You might break your bones and be hurt your whole life when they are pro's and have insurance.

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    If the OP has a garage, it’s a lot easier to stuff a Bport in a corner than move down stairs. Have done both in past….

    L7

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    Original South Bend basic operating instruction:

    South Bend's "How to run a lathe" (stabilised) - YouTube

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    Lathes like that can quickly be broken into 4 parts - which makes moving them easier. Take the tailstock off. Remove the 2 screws at the front right of the bed (journal support for the leadscrew) and slide the whole saddle and apron off (put the screws back in to support the shaft. There are probably 4 screws holding the headstock down to the bed (or some larger bolts and an arrangement like the tailstock from the center underneath). Remove them and it pops right off. The bed will now be the heaviest piece - but still easier to move than the whole machine.

    Search for pictures of "lathe restoration" and you will probably get a better idea.

    look on ebay for 1"flat lathe belt (or whatever length)

    PM me where in Mass you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ignator View Post
    I can't help with the move. The lathe belt, use one of those link belt types that enable you to thread it back around the spindle V pulley and motor. That way you won't have to remove the spindle from the head stock. They come in different widths, so match it to the existing belt. The link to the HF belt is for a 1/2" wide (top of V measurement).
    Vibration Free Link Belt

    If the basement is dry, and temperature is above dew point, you should be OK with no rust. But if it's damp, you must run a dehumidifier to dry the air down. Same issue out in a non controlled, temperature shop space.
    Then you need to level the machine, else the twist in the bed will produce a taper to the work. You need a precision level, or search for other methods. But the level is the best starting point. Search youtube for the many questions as folks posts lots of helpful information for machining beginners.
    Thanks for the tip on the link belt. I didn't know anything like that existed. I'm not too worried about having the lathe in the basement in terms of rust. I have one of those hybrid water heaters down there that is constantly pumping out cool dehumidified air. I'm more concerned about the mill which is going to have to go in the garage which is not climate controlled. I do have a dehumidifier that I could run in there which I hope will be enough however depending on the temperatures inside and outside it sometimes does not take long for condensation to form on the cars when I open the garage door. I suppose I will need to be diligent about keeping the machine covered in oil to avoid any issues there.

    I was also not aware that the machine needed to be leveled. My grandfather had the entire cabinet on heavy duty casters and I had planned on leaving it on casters. Maybe this is not a good idea as it will produce a taper as you mentioned? If the casters are not a good option would it be better to put the cabinet up some 4x4's and then level it from there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    Check with your local community college and see if they have any machinist or gunsmith courses that teach manual machining, most are going to cnc, but you might get lucky. Mr Pete/Tubalcain on youtube sells a video course, I suggested it to a friend but don't think she followed thru so I don't know much else about it. South Bend put out a book "How to Run a Lathe", it is REQUIRED reading for any novice, you can download it free from the net.

    Make sure the stairs into basement can handle the load, if need be take the lathe apart and carry it down, maybe hire some big guys if needed. As for the mill, have fun!
    I actually found a copy of this book that I found in my grandfathers basement along with all kinds of paperwork including the original owners manual for the Bridgeport and a parts manual for the lathe! Lots of good stuff in that book but I think I would benefit more from some hands on instruction from somebody who actually knows what they are doing. Fortunately where the lathe is going I don't have any stairs to contend with. I have a walk out basement so I just need to drive the truck and trailer around the back of my house and drag it inside on plywood or take the individual pieces off so that it can be carried inside as others have mentioned.

    I don't think there is any way around hiring riggers to get the mill out of my grandfathers basement though. Its just sitting on the concrete floor and the only way out is through a set of walk out basement doors. The problem is that there is a deck over the doors and only crushed stone on the ground. I wouldn't even begin to know how to get it out of there. I was thinking that I could pay to have the machine extracted and placed on a heavy duty pallet and then transport the machine myself with a pallet jack and a drop deck trailer. Getting it off the pallet would be a whole other challenge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard King View Post
    Call a local machinery mover and see what they would charge you to take it down to the basement .or a piano mover.. You might break your bones and be hurt your whole life when they are pro's and have insurance.
    Been there done that over the past 14 years of riding and racing dirt bikes. Broken bones, destroyed shoulders, stitches, ambulance rides. Its all starting to catch up with me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryd View Post
    Lathes like that can quickly be broken into 4 parts - which makes moving them easier. Take the tailstock off. Remove the 2 screws at the front right of the bed (journal support for the leadscrew) and slide the whole saddle and apron off (put the screws back in to support the shaft. There are probably 4 screws holding the headstock down to the bed (or some larger bolts and an arrangement like the tailstock from the center underneath). Remove them and it pops right off. The bed will now be the heaviest piece - but still easier to move than the whole machine.

    Search for pictures of "lathe restoration" and you will probably get a better idea.

    look on ebay for 1"flat lathe belt (or whatever length)

    PM me where in Mass you are.
    Do I run the risk of negatively affecting the tolerances of the machine by disassembling and re-assembling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottcarter87 View Post
    Do I run the risk of negatively affecting the tolerances of the machine by disassembling and re-assembling?
    More to the point there's no need to do that where you have a walk-out and adjacent garage.

    SB's are LIGHT. So are BirdPorts. "Top heavy" or at least very willing to topple-over is your primary concern, the both of them.

    Plywood can help you traverse soil or gravel, but put handicraft sheet galvanized atop to make sliding and corner-walking easier.

    Sheet metal and a spriz of lube again to move around on the basement or garage concrete.

    No need to used skates, rollers, casters, or such with machines that light. Just rachet-strap a length of timber across for a lever/handle- tham walk a few steps pso as to alternate "cave man corner-walking" from one end or it, then the other.

    "In general".. invest patience and smarts instead of technology, rigging gear, money, or brute force and bloody ignorance.

    You don't have to do this once to every hour, after all. Just the ONE time, and carefully so.

    Break the load, break the rigging gear, break skin, break a finger-nail, draw blood... or even break a SWEAT?

    ... you are using muscle, risk ,and impatience. That's wrong.

    Plan better. ELSE back-off and re-assess the tasking.

    Rigger's apply brains, leverage ,and simplicity mixed with patience...

    .... and NOT "BFBI".


    It really is that easy.. so long as you MAKE it easy.

    The belt you cut may be spliced, stitched, metal-linked, or easily replaced with a new leather one, skivved and glued. Built-up-link belts generally suck Onager Genitalia, male persuasion.

    Getting a Birdport's table through a person-passage door "can be done" with clever working of angles, but if you can keep it in the garage and avoid the need, so much the better. Milling-cutter metal "chips" are easily twice as nasty as lathe turnings, won't make you any friends if/as/when tracked into the living quarters or finiding their way into mixed laundry loads.

    And get yourself some "Fluid Film" or "Boeshield" instead of slathering oil - meant for LUBE, not preserving surfaces - all over stuff.

    Fluid Film is about as good as such things in the JF run it, no need to remove it - ever get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottcarter87 View Post
    Do I run the risk of negatively affecting the tolerances of the machine by disassembling and re-assembling?
    Only if you do it wrong! If just breaking it into 4 parts, you would have to be a real bone head to screw it up, its a pretty simple machine. But if its a drive up basement, just get a couple big guys to do the lifting, feed them beer/pizza or power shakes/sprouts depending on their preference, maybe toss in a few bucks.

    Mill could be broken down into pieces that are more manageable, bet you could find some disassembly vids on YT, but its going to require some muscle to get the parts out. Any idea how he got it down there?

    Edit. Re-read description, its in a basement with a walk out door, get a big (5-6ft) prybar and some half inch black pipe, get it on pipes and roll to door, or maybe 2" pipes so you can roll out onto heavy plywood to get past the deck, forklift onto trailer.

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    I would try to get a few strong guys and just move the lathe in one piece. First set the base near where you want it and then just set the lathe back on its base.
    The bridgeport comes apart into some easy to to handle sub assy's. Head comes off, ram comes off, table comes off, knee comes off, then you just have the main casting. The entire mill might weigh 1700 lbs so broken down it is easy to handle the pieces.

    Dalmation seems to type faster...

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    Once in side the mill will move easily on 1/2" waterpipes.
    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    I would try to get a few strong guys and just move the lathe in one piece. First set the base near where you want it and then just set the lathe back on its base.
    The bridgeport comes apart into some easy to to handle sub assy's. Head comes off, ram comes off, table comes off, knee comes off, then you just have the main casting. The entire mill might weigh 1700 lbs so broken down it is easy to handle the pieces.

    Dalmation seems to type faster...
    My Quartet mill's factory spec'ed weight was 5205 Avoir. It came in laid over flat on one side to get UNDER a low upper lintel 18-foot wide garage door, then under a transverse 10 1/2" beam.

    That beam, an engine hoist, a pair of 6-ton jackstands and rather a lot of classical hairy-ears timber, chains, straps, and cordage-foo re-erected it.

    Right next to the 4400 lb Avoir rectangular-table Alzmetall AB5/S also brought in laid-over on the same DIY "super hand truck" and emplaced just ahead of it.

    Positioning used the sheet-metal and grease trick ....with a 4" X 6" 12-foot "handle".

    One (old) man.

    One rented FL...

    ... for the outside work and pushing the laid-over "hand truck" into place using machinery skates atop a timbered "railway".

    BFD.

    Just use yer head muscles.

    Not yer ass-muscles.

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    Some Sunbelt rentals places have small drop deck trailers, might be possible to back one of those up to basement door and scoot mill onto it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    Check with your local community college and see if they have any machinist or gunsmith courses that teach manual machining, most are going to cnc, but you might get lucky. Mr Pete/Tubalcain on youtube sells a video course, I suggested it to a friend but don't think she followed thru so I don't know much else about it. South Bend put out a book "How to Run a Lathe", it is REQUIRED reading for any novice, you can download it free from the net.

    Make sure the stairs into basement can handle the load, if need be take the lathe apart and carry it down, maybe hire some big guys if needed. As for the mill, have fun!

    Last december I graduated from a CNC machining program from the local public Tech college. The first semester was mostly manual machining , with some conversational CNC thrown in. Tech school wanted us to know how to operate a manual lathe and mill, so we would understand the basics. I would presume many other Tech schools are the same way.

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